Books Read in January & February 2017

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Books & Coffee | rainerlife.com

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my reading goals for 2017. I use Goodreads to keep track of books I’ve read and want to read, but I thought it would be a good idea to break down my reading lists by month. So, I’ll be doing a monthly post on the books that I read the previous month. Since I’m working toward specific reading goals, I’ll list the books by reading challenge or book list. Below are the books that I read in January and February.

JANUARY

Gilmore Girls Season 2 books
The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
The Iliad by Homer
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Gilmore Girls Season 3 books
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
The Bungalow Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene
The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene
The Secret of Red Gate Farm by Carolyn Keene
The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene
Nancy’s Mysterious Letter by Carolyn Keene
The Sign of the Twisted Candles by Carolyn Keene
The Password to Larkspur Lane by Carolyn Keene
The Clue of the Broken Locket by Carolyn Keene
The Message in the Hollow Oak by Carolyn Keene

Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge + Advanced List
The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories by Mark Twain – A book by an author who uses a pseudonym. This book includes The Mysterious Stranger, The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and The 1,000,000 Pound Bank-Note. The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County is on the Gilmore Girls Season 2 book list.
The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher – A book about food. This book is also on the Gilmore Girls Season 2 book list
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave – A novel set during wartime.
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan – A book with pictures.

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 Reading Challenges for Fun and for Growth
Growth
Holes by Louis Sachar – A Newbery Award Winner or Honor Book.
Candide by Voltaire – A book in translation. This book is also on the Gilmore Girls Season 2 book list.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne – A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – An immigrant story.
The Games by James Patterson – Three books by the same author.
Hope to Die by James Patterson – Three books by the same author.
Zoo 2 by James Patterson – Three books by the same author.
Atonement by Ian McEwan – A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending. This book is also on the Gilmore Girls Season 2 book list.
Ironweed by William J. Kennedy – A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner. This book is also on the Gilmore Girls Season 2 book list.

Bookriot’s 100 Must-Read Hilarious Books
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

Bookriot’s 100 Must-Read Books about Monsters
Paper Girls, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Other books read (not toward a specific goal)
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
Black & Blue by James Patterson
The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson
Cross Justice by James Patterson
Cross Kill by James Patterson
Cross the Line by James Patterson
Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight
The Murder of an Angel by James Patterson
The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson
The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

FEBRUARY

Gilmore Girls Season 2 books
The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
Unfinished Business: Memoirs: 1902-1988 by John Houseman
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence
The Dirt by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, and Nikki Sixx
Novels and Stories by Shirley Jackson – This book includes The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and other short stories. The Lottery is on the Gilmore Girls Season 2 book list.

The Twilight novels
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
The Mystery of the Ivory Charm by Carolyn Keene
The Whispering Statue by Carolyn Keene
The Haunted Bridge by Carolyn Keene
The Clue of the Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene
The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk by Carolyn Keene
The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion by Carolyn Keene

Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge + Advanced List
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – An audiobook.
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki – A book with one of the four seasons in the title.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio – A book by or about a person who has a disability.
Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld – A book with a subtitle.
What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles – A book with career advice. This book is also on the Gilmore Girls Season 2 book list.
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir – A book about an interesting woman. This book is also on the Gilmore Girls Season 2 book list.
The Gates by John Connolly – A book set around a holiday other than Christmas.
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith – The first book in a series you haven’t read before.

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 Reading Challenges for Fun and for Growth
Growth
The Host by Stephenie Meyer – A book that’s more than 600 pages.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – A book by an author who uses a pseudonym. This book is also on Bookriot’s 100 Must-Read Hilarious Books list.

Fun
Looking for Alaska by John Green – A book you chose for the cover.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – A book in the backlist of a new favorite author.
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Other books read (not toward a specific goal)
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee
Fortune Hunter by Jana DeLeon
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
A Separation by Katie Kitamura
Shift by Hugh Howey
The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

Books for Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge

Books in bookstore | rainerlife.com

Last year I did the Popsugar 2016 Reading Challenge, and now I’m working on this year’s challenge.

This year’s reading challenge includes 40 book prompts, plus an “advanced” list with 12 additional prompts. I’m going to try to read a book for each prompt, so that’s 52 books for this challenge. Below is the challenge, plus my book for that prompt. I will update this list as I finish reading books.

POPSUGAR 2017 READING CHALLENGE
✓1. A book recommended by a librarian – The Martian by Andy Weir
2. A book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
✓3. A book of letters – 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
✓4. An audiobook – Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
5. A book by a person of color – You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
✓6. A book with one of the four seasons in the title – This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
7. A book that is a story within a story – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
✓8. A book with multiple authors – Missing by James Patterson and Kathryn Fox
9. An espionage thriller – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
✓10. A book with a cat on the cover – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
✓11. A book by an author who uses a pseudonym – The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories by Mark Twain
✓12. A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read – How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
✓13. A book by or about a person who has a disability – Wonder by R.J. Palacio
14. A book involving travel – The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
✓15. A book with a subtitle – Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld
✓16. A book that’s published in 2017 – The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
17. A book involving a mythical creature – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
18. A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
✓19. A book about food – The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher
✓20. A book with career advice – What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles
21. A book from a nonhuman perspective – Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
22. A steampunk novel – Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
✓23. A book with a red spine – Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
24. A book set in the wilderness – The Call of the Wild by Jack London
25. A book you loved as a child – The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
26. A book by an author from a country you’ve never visited – The Vegetarian by Han Kang
✓27. A book with a title that’s a character’s name – Cinder by Marissa Meyer
✓28. A novel set during wartime – Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
✓29. A book with an unreliable narrator – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
✓30. A book with pictures – Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
✓31. A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you – The Mothers by Brit Bennett
✓32. A book about an interesting woman – Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir< ✓33. A book set in two different time periods - Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
✓34. A book with a month or day of the week in the title – Tenth of December by George Saunders
35. A book set in a hotel – The Blue Hotel by Stephen Crane
36. A book written by someone you admire – Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush
✓37. A book that’s becoming a movie in 2017 – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
✓38. A book set around a holiday other than Christmas – The Gates by John Connolly
✓39. The first book in a series you haven’t read before – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
40. A book you bought on a trip –

POPSUGAR 2017 ADVANCED READING CHALLENGE
41. A book recommended by an author you love – The Sellout by Paul Beatty
✓42. A bestseller from 2016 – Cross the Line by James Patterson
43. A book with a family member term in the title – The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
44. A book that takes place over a character’s life span – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
45. A book about an immigrant or refugee The Brief Wondrous – Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
56. A book from a genre/subgenre you’ve never heard of – Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow
47. A book with an eccentric character – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
48. A book that’s more than 800 pages – A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
✓49. A book you got from a used book sale – Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
50. A book that’s been mentioned in another book – Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
51. A book about a difficult topic – Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
52. A book based on mythology – The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

February 2017

Happy Mardi Gras!

February was a fun month for us! We stayed busy with some fun activities and family time.

Gavin’s enjoying his soccer class. He does start to lose interest about half-way through the 30-minute class. Basically, he has the attention span of a two-year-old! He pretty good with kicking the ball, but he’s not great at following directions. Shocking, I know.

Gavin playing soccer | rainerlife.com

Gavin playing soccer | rainerlife.com

We took Gavin to see his first movie – LEGO Batman. He really liked the movie… he’s really into Batman, especially LEGO Batman. He likes other superheroes too, but Batman is his current favorite. For the movie, he sat in his seat for the first half of the movie, but sat in my lap for the second half. He did talk some during the show, but it was saying things like “Batman” or “Joker” when they were on the screen. It was a successful first movie trip, so now we know we can add going to the movies to our list activities.

Gavin & Batman | rainerlife.com

I took Gavin to the Center for Earth & Space Science Education to watch a show called Earth, Moon, and Sun in the dome theater. It was a short show, but he loved it. He watched the whole thing… didn’t say much, other than the occasional comment about the moon. I think I watched him more than the show, and he had a smile on his face most of the time. He’s really into space stuff (rockets, astronauts, the moon, and the planets). The planetarium offers a few different shows, so we’ll be going back to see the other ones. They also have a small exhibit hall. They had an exhibit about the ocean, which isn’t something Gavin’s really into right now, but he liked the boats and coral displays. For other fun day-time stuff, we’ve been going to playgrounds, storytime at the library, and swimming in the pool. The weather has been nice lately, so we’ve been able to do more outside activities. The pool water is too cool to swim in, but we turn the heater on in the spa and Gavin can play in there. We just make sure we don’t set the water too hot and he can splash and play for a long time in the warm water.

Center for Earth & Space Science Education | rainerlife.com

Gavin at Center for Earth & Space Science Education | rainerlife.com

Gavin on the fire truck at a playground | rainerlife.com

Gavin at World of Wildlife Museum | rainerlife.com

Gavin in the spa | rainerlife.com

We celebrated Valentine’s Day with brunch on Sunday. We went to a local restaurant that offers a nice Sunday brunch. Unfortunately, Gavin was not excited about the outing, so we didn’t linger too long. On Valentine’s Day, Michael sent me a beautiful arrangement of roses.

Valentine's Day roses | rainerlife.com

One Saturday, we visited a local brewery that we hadn’t yet tried. ETX Brewing Co. is family friendly, so we took Gavin with us. The beers were good and we enjoyed the atmosphere. We’ll definitely be going back!

Beers at ETX Brewing Co. | rainerlife.com

We celebrated Mardi Gras in Jefferson, TX, at the Mysteries and Masquerade Mardi Gras parade. It was Gavin’s first Mardi Gras parade. He wasn’t so sure about it, but once he discovered the beads, he loved it. He loved it so much, he took the beads off his Mama, Honey and Pappaw, because he wanted to wear ALL the beads. He was pretty weighted down with beads by the end of the parade!

Gavin & Michael at Mardi Gras parade | rainerlife.com

The Rainers at Mardi Gras parade | rainerlife.com

Gavinand his beads at Mardi Gras parade | rainerlife.com

Last week, we went to a local barbecue joint that we go to fairly often, but this time we went on a night they had a band. The band was playing the blues, and Gavin loved it. He danced and danced. We’ve been avoiding going to places on nights they had live music because it’s usually more crowded, but now we know Gavin likes the music. I’m guessing we’ll be going to more live music places so the little man can dance.




2017 Reading Goals

A book and wine | rainerlife.com

I’ve always been a big reader, but this year I’ve set a few reading goals for myself. Over the last couple of years, I’ve done different reading challenges and book lists. I usually randomly read throughout the year, without really having a plan of which books to read during the year. This year is different. I’ve made a list of the different challenges and book lists I want to read. I’ve also already chosen most of the books to read for the reading challenges. I have a lot of books on my to-read list, but I’ve been doing a ton of reading. I read fairly quickly, and pretty much always have a book handy. I keep multiple books around the house to read and I always have at least one ebook on my phone… usually three or four ebooks. Some of the books I read are really long and take me a little while to make it through, especially if they aren’t that interesting. But, a lot of books I read aren’t very long and I can read in a day or two. Since most of the books I read come from the library, either physical book or ebook format, I have a limited time to read them. This means that it usually doesn’t take me more than two weeks to finish a book, even if it’s an especially long or especially boring book. I’ve also been reading multiple books at a time, and I seem to be reading more books this way. If I’m actively reading 4 or 5 books at a time, then I’m always finishing books too. Reading multiple books also allows me to vary my interests, so I can be reading a classic, a mystery, a biography, and a young adult novel all at the same time. Basically, I just pick up and read whichever I happen to be in the mood for at the time. Instead of trying to finish a book I’m not really into, I just pick the book I actually want to read. I enjoy lots of different genres of books, and this helps me to constantly be reading a variety of books. I’ve found this helps keep my out of reading ruts.

My 2017 reading goals are:

1. Gilmore Girls Season 2 books
— I only have 5 books left to read on this list. I think my local library has one of the books, and I’ve requested one book through interlibrary loan. That just leaves three more… I think I can get them as ebooks on OpenLibrary, but if not, I’ll request them through interlibrary loan.

2. Gilmore Girls Season 3 books
— I have 23 books left to read on this list. My local library has at least 10 of them. The rest I’ll get through interlibrary loan or ebook if I can find it available online.

3. The Twilight novels
— I’ve read the first two books, but haven’t got around to reading the last two books. I can get these on Overdrive, and they’ll be quick reads. I’ll try to knock these two out soon.

4. Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
— I loved the Nancy Drew books when I was young, so I though it would be fun to reread them. There are multiple series of Nancy Drew books, but I’m only concentrating on the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories this year. There are 64 books in the series, and I’m currently reading #18. I can get most of these from my local library, and I’ve found some others as ebooks, so hopefully I don’t have to interlibrary loan any of these books.

5. Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge + Advanced List
— This reading challenge is 40 book prompts, plus an additional 12 book prompts for the “Advanced” list. So far, I’ve read 13 books for this challenge. I’m using a few of the books from the Gilmore Girls book lists toward this challenge. I’ve picked a book for most of the prompts, and most are available through my local library or Overdrive. I’ll do a separate blog post with the list of book prompts and which book I’ve read or plan on reading.

6. Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 Reading Challenges for Fun and for Growth
— These two reading challenges, one with 12 book prompts for reading for growth and one with 12 book prompts for reading for fun, make a total of 26 books to read… The reading for growth challenge is for 14 books instead of 12 because one prompt is to read three books by the same author. I’ve read 4 of the books for the reading for fun challenge and 11 books for the reading for growth challenge. I’ll do a separate blog post with the list of book prompts and which book I’ve read or plan on reading.

7. 25 books from Bookriot’s 100 Must-Read Hilarious Books list
—- I’ve read 14 books off this list. My goal is to have read 25 books off this list by the end of the year. I may end up reading more than that, but it’s too early in the year to say for sure if I’ll be able make that happen. I’ll do a separate blog post with this list of books and mark which books I’ve read.

8. 20 books from Bookriot’s 100 Must-Read Books About Monsters list
—- I’ve read 3 books off this list. My goal is to have read 20 books off this list by the end of the year. I may read more than that, but it’s not a high priority on my list of current reading goals. I’ll do a separate blog post with this list of books and mark which books I’ve read.

January 2017

Happy New Year!

Sorry I haven’t posted anything lately. We’ve been staying busy with other things, and blogging has taken a backseat. I hope to post more in the coming months. For now, enjoy these photos taken over the last month.

Photos top to bottom:
– Darinda celebrated her birthday. We went out to eat and enjoyed some yummy BBQ at local restaurant.
– The weather has been all over the place, but we managed to squeeze in some park playtime.
– Gavin started soccer! He loved his first class.